The First Look

to have one, or not to have one?

Why do a first look? There are so many reasons why to do a first look on your wedding day. Behind all the glitz, glamour, and BUSTLE of a wedding day, we sometimes forget about what is at the heart of a wedding. You and yours. Your future husband and you are the reason people travel near and far, and get all spiffy for one night. Yes, I’m sure the open-bar is a huge plus, but they love you and are looking to celebrate you both. Choosing a first look for your wedding day is choosing to see your fiance, much sooner in the day. When my brides choose a first look, they have certain priorities throughout their day!

Read along to see if that aligns with what you and your partner want for your day!

Cocktail Hour

reasons to do a first look #1

Need I say more? It is time to analyze the reasons why to do a first look on your wedding day, or not. The first thing I ask my brides is whether they’d like to be at a majority of their cocktail hour. This does not mean that if you decide against a first look for your wedding that you will miss your cocktail hour. If you have a church gap between your ceremony and cocktail hour, then you will most likely be fine! But, take into consideration that if you do not have a first look, you will still need to take bride and groom portraits, full bridal party portraits, and family!

Personally, I do not like rushing bride & groom portraits so I allocate a full hour for them in my timelines. Bridal party can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes, and family can take 10-20 minutes depending on how many photos you want! That means if you have an hour allocated for cocktail hour, we only have an hour for things I would usually take two hours on. My aim when making your schedule is to make you feel the most relaxed.

Points to consider when deciding to do a first look or not:

  • time of your ceremony in relation to the sunsetting (& do you want natural light portraits with your partner)
  • Do you want to go to cocktail hour or at least enjoy the cocktail hour food?
  • How many family photos do you anticipate needing

Photo Fatigue

Reasons to do a first look #2

Photo fatigue is real, especially for the groom! Some reasons for doing a first look, you know that your makeup and the groom is fresh. The getting ready portion for the groom is a good warm up. The first look is where he is not only feeling himself, but ready to see you. I truly believe that once the groom is comfortable with the photographer, the first look becomes more emotional. Now the groom trusts their photographer and does not mind becoming emotional in front of them!

Also, did I mention your hair and makeup is still fresh? This ensures that your hair and makeup are in place for some of the most important photos of the day!

As for fatigue, I am telling you from experience (I got married this past June!), that your cheeks are going to hurt from smiling after an hour of photos. By doing your first look as early as possible in the timeline, you know you will have the most genuine, relaxed smiles. The first look also helps break up your day. While the day is now front loaded, you will have timed breaks between the photos and the ceremony. This allows your muscles to take a breather, and to refresh before the ceremony!

More Time Together

Reasons to do a first look #3 (& probably the most important one!!)

This one is my number one reason why to do a first look, our of the many reasons to do a first look. When talking to my brides during their inquiry call, I go over the pros and cons of the first look, and this is always my number one pro! After your bridal portraits/getting ready portion of the day, we get you to your MAN! You’ve been waiting for this day, and waiting to marry the man of your dreams. Who says you need to wait until 5/6 to see them for the first time?!

Sometimes wedding days are overwhelmingly about the families who are involved, and the bride and groom get lost in the mix. To me, the first look puts you back at the center of your day. It gives you both the opportunity to spend that quality time, and to take in those little moments prior to the rush.

In conclusion

I will never try to sway you one way or the other, this is purely an educational post on what photographers specifically look for when asking these types of questions! Whichever you chose, know that I support you and cannot wait to capture your love!

Still looking for a venue? Dead to my Top Tented Wedding Venues in Philadelphia!

3 Reasons Why to Do a First Look on Your Wedding Day

February 19, 2023


Savannah + Erek | Cape May, NJ

“Lexi was great! Our pictures came out beautiful and I couldn’t be happier! You definitely can’t go wrong with having Lexi take your pictures!”

"I couldn’t be happier!"

Nicole & Alec | New Jersey

"Not only was she… personable to the point even my camera shy self felt comfortable, but she put the bridal party and grooms party at ease as well."

"I'm thrilled she was part of my day."

Alexandra & Jess | Pelham, NY

"Lexi is great with lighting and art direction, and we couldn’t stop smiling looking through all the photographs. I couldn’t recommend someone more."

"She’s a brilliant photographer."

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